Review & Giveaway: Dr Dawn’s Guide to Your Baby’s First Year

Since having Little M I’ve realised how totally clueless I am about babies. The NHS website it great for information, but you have to know what you’re looking for, don’t you? Not to mention the rather overwhelming, seemingly endless visits in those first weeks from midwives and the health visitor; and then you somehow have to get yourself and your baby out of the house for a specific time (what?! Are they mad?!) and down to the GP for the six week check. I did find myself frequently wondering in those early days and weeks, just what are these people looking for? What do they want with my baby?

Enter Dr Dawn Harper. You know, that lovely lady with the luscious dark locks on Embarrassing Bodies. She’s very helpfully written a new book all about what to expect in baby’s first year. And she’s a doctor, so she knows her onions. Or rather, babies.

Dr Dawn’s Guide to Your Baby’s First Year

This book covers everything from feeding your baby (both breast milk and formula milk; how refreshing!) to when to expect the midwife or health visitor to visit (and what they’ll do). It also details what the doctor is doing at the six week check when (s)he’s examining your baby. I only wish I’d read it a bit earlier as Little M is 13 weeks now so has done all this. Having said that, it still made for interesting reading and it’s good to know what was going on, even retrospectively.

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Even more interesting is the chapter about immunisations. Unfortunately, the vaccination schedule detailed is already slightly out of date as the Meningitis C vaccination stopped being given on 1st July 2016, but nevertheless Dr Dawn has explained what’s in each vaccine and, perhaps more importantly, written about the illnesses they protect against.

I’ve written recently about my worries about Little M and her immunisations, but now that I’ve read this book, I feel even more confident that we’ve made the right choice by ensuring that she has them. It would be irresponsible not only to her, but also to society as a whole if we were to opt out.

Dr Dawn has also written about how to ensure the best environment for your baby’s sleep, what to expect from teething (including how to cope with it) and simple things that I’ve often wondered about like how to clean your baby’s teeth, how to bathe them and how to cut your baby’s nails (I must confess I reach for the nail file in this instance as I’m terrified of nipping Little M’s skin!). I really like the way Dr Dawn has succinctly covered answers to those questions that you really want to know, but feel too stupid to ask!

There’s also a section about typical baby ailments and another on baby first aid. For a book of less than eighty pages, it really does cram a lot in. And that’s what I like about it. It gets straight to the point when, frankly, you haven’t got time to faff about. I only wish I’d had Dr Dawn’s Guide to Your Baby’s First Year in my life sooner, before Little M was born!

Giveaway

I’ve got one copy of Dr Dawn’s Guide to Your Baby’s First Year to give away. Just complete at least one entry on the Rafflecopter below to be in with a chance of winning!

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Terms and Conditions

(Sorry, boring yet essential!):

There is one prize of a copy of Dr Dawn’s Guide to Your Baby’s First Year . No cash alternative.
This competition is open to residents of the UK only.
Competition ends 18th September 2016.
A winner will be chosen at random using the widget.
The winner will be notified via email within 7 days of the closing date, and must respond within 28 days to claim their prize. Jules of Pondering Parenthood will then arrange delivery of the prize within 10 working days.

Disclosure: I was given a copy of Dr Dawn’s Guide to Your Baby’s First Year to read for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are my own.

 

Meet the Parents – Advice for new mummies and daddies with Mum’s the Law

Welcome back to my blog series giving advice to new mummies and daddies – from those who have been there themselves. This week I’m joined by Amy from Mum’s the Law.

 

Tell me a bit about you, your blog and your family.

I’m Amy, I’m a solicitor working full time in a personal injury firm and blogging over at Mum’s the Law as often as I can. The blog is a mix of family, food and lifestyle topics but really it’s a mixed bag of everything. It was originally set up to keep my family (who live 80 miles away) up to date as I got to the end of my pregnancy and after Mason was born. It’s snowballed a bit, and now it’s just a bit of everything.

I live with my husband, Wes, who I married back in November 2015 and my son, Mason, who has just turned one. We’re located in a small village called Frodsham, having recently moved from Chester.

What one essential item would you insist on putting in your hospital bag (for you)?

For me, it was some ‘first size’ babygrows and sleepsuits. It sounds really obvious, but we packed 0-3 month sized clothing for when Mason as born and they absolutely drowned him. It seems obvious to a lot of people, but we didn’t think the size difference would be so vast. Luckily, my sister in law was over pretty quickly with the smaller clothes, but I felt a bit silly that I hadn’t realized that the 0-3 months, don’t really mean 0 months at all!

Was there anything unexpected that happened during labour, that you think first-time mums should be prepared for?

Not as such, but towards the end I was always wondering if that little stabbing pain was the beginning of labour. I was so convinced he was coming early, but he was actually eight days late. My only piece of advice for first time mums is not to fret about whether you’re in labour or not, because you will almost definitely know about it. If you have to question whether you’re in labour then the chances are you’re not, if you’re certain that this feeling is ‘different’, you almost definitely are.

What would be your one essential product for a newborn that no new parent should live without?

An app or product that plays white noise to your baby. We used it for almost the entire first year to soothe Mason to sleep; it also doubles up as a relaxing distraction for frazzled first time parents. White noise was almost guaranteed to help him drift off whenever we needed him to or at the very least stop him crying. We loved it and it made our lives so much easier.

Oh yes – Little M loves the hairdyer sound on my white noise app; nothing else will do!

What’s the best piece of advice you were given before your first child was born?

Trust your instincts. I was so worried that when I gave birth, I’d have no idea what I was doing. I had no real experience with kids prior to having one, so when someone told me that I would ‘just know’ what to do, I just disregarded it as nothing. It’s not. It’s absolutely true. Maternal instinct is truly an incredible thing – so when someone tells you not to worry and just trust your gut, do it.

What’s the worst piece of advice you were given?

Sleep when the baby sleeps. I know it is a staple of health experts to tell you to sleep when he sleeps but I think it’s stupid advice. I mean, I would have gone completely insane if I did this, because I needed some non-baby time to do normal things like pick up a magazine, play a video game or watch Great British Bake Off.

A little off-topic, but I’m so excited that Bake Off is back!! Eeek!

What would be your top tip for a first time parent-to-be?

Take any offer of help you get from friends, family or your partner. If they offer to have a walk with the baby for a couple of hours, load up the changing bag and let them. Use the time to take a bath, prepare a meal, have a nap or whatever you need to feel normal for that time. Your baby won’t mind, your family won’t mind, you will feel a million times better for it.

What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent?

It can be pretty overwhelming at first, because you’re not used to the change in dynamic within your family. Different appointments, different healthcare professionals coming to have a look at the baby and as they get older, trying to remember everything at all times can seem like a real mammoth challenge. Trying to do everything you used to AND look after a baby is hard to get used to. Sadly that only gets worse as they get older but you get used to it; just remember that everybody has had that nightmare day so try not to put too much pressure on yourself and try and enjoy everything.

What’s the best thing about being a new parent?

Seeing them grow from the tiny helpless little baby, and watching them evolve into a fiery, independent toddler, to an awesome kid with their own personality and quirks that you could never imagine. Taking time to sit back and just enjoy your child for who they are is something that you can’t prepare for, but it’s wonderful.

Thanks, Amy! You can find Amy on her blog, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook

 

The 12 Week Immunisations

Little M had her 12 week immunisations today. She’s actually just turned 13 weeks but I rescheduled last week’s appointment as we had to travel down to Somerset last week for a friend’s wedding. After the all-day screamathon we experienced after the first set of immunisations Little M had at eight weeks, there was no way I’d risk putting her in a car for a long journey straight after her jabs!

So we went along this morning full of trepidation – last time poor Little M’s left leg swelled right up and was bright red and incredibly painful-looking. Even after putting an ice pack on it, it took a long time to go down and I could still feel a little lump in her thigh weeks later. However, this was caused by the meningitis B vaccine, which is only administered at eight weeks and again at 16 weeks, so I was hopeful that Little M’s reaction wouldn’t be quite as bad.

When we went into the nurse’s room, she started by administering the liquid gel containing the rotavirus vaccine. Little M lapped it up, bless her! Then she gave a little squeal when the 5-in-1 booster injection was given, but calmed down straight away with a nice drink of milk. I cuddled her all the way on the walk home, then she fell asleep on me on the sofa for a couple of hours.


This afternoon she was totally fine (maybe a little more grumpy when feeding and a little more resistant to sleep) and I was able to pop into the city to buy a new laptop (hurrah!) and a few bits for her. She’s asleep on me again now as a write this, a position she’s been in for the past hour and a half. I’m not sure whether she’ll wake up to have her bath now (it’s 9pm) so we might try putting her down how she is.

I’m relieved that this round of immunisations doesn’t seem to have taken too much of a toll on Little M, but I’m already dreading the next lot in four weeks’ time and that dreaded meningitis B booster!

Five things I’ve learned about travelling with a baby

After writing all about our packing escapades on Monday, I thought I’d share what we learned from four days away with Little M. At the very least it might save one reader a bit of time/space in the car!

1) We shouldn’t have bothered taking the Snüzpod. Despite Little M sleeping through for several nights before we went away, we discovered after several sleepless hours trying to replicate this with her Snüzpod in a Premier Inn that in fact all she wanted was to sleep in her pram carrycot.

Yep, sparko as soon as her head hit the mattress for around seven hours straight. We spent the rest of the break needlessly wedging the Snüzpod in the car.

2) An electric cool box which works on both 12v and mains is the best invention known to man when you’re on the move and need to store that precious breast milk. It would appear you’re not supposed to leave them plugged in for four days straight though. Who knew?!

3) We definitely made the right decision in not taking the baby bath. I just third-filled the hotel room bath and bathed her in that – in fact she loved it as we had more space to swoosh about.

4) I hate Milton. Hate it. To be fair cold water sterilising actually made the whole process faster, but I hated that everything smelt like a swimming pool and felt like I was feeding Little M chemicals. I think I’d even consider taking my microwave next time. It can fill the space left by the Snüzpod!

5) Be prepared to add at least 50% more time onto your journey. Google maps told us it would take 4hrs 21 minutes to complete our 241-mile journey. We arrived home two stops and 6hrs 45 minutes later. And that was with clear roads on the whole.

As an aside, I also discovered that I have lost some of my inhibitions and can pump away from home more easily now. This past week I have expressed in hotel rooms, pub toilets and the front seat of the car at Fleet services on the M3, with a muslin to cover my modesty. I do often wonder what passers-by must think I’m doing with my hands…

What are your top tips for travelling with a baby?

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Meet the Parents – Advice for new mummies ad daddies with Glossy Tots

Welcome back to my blog series giving advice to new mummies and daddies – from those who have been there themselves. This week I’m joined by Faye from Glossy Tots.

Tell me a bit about you, your blog and your family.

I am an IVF mummy and sufferer of polycystic ovarian syndrome. I have one daughter, Erin, aged 4 and included in my blog is my goddaughter, Maisie, who I look after on weekly basis whilst her mum works. I started blogging 2 years ago, but only full time in the last year, and I have recently dived into the world of vlogging – both of which I am really enjoying.  My blog is made up of posts about family life and reviews.

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What one essential item would you insist on putting in your hospital bag (for you)?

A water bottle that can be used lying down – I hated having to move out the position I was comfortable in to sip water out of vile plastic cups!

Good idea! I packed some straws because of this but I think a water bottle would have been even better!

Was there anything unexpected that happened during labour, that you think first-time mums should be prepared for?

My labour completely stopping for four hours half way through! No rhyme or reasoning for it and I thought arghh what if it doesn’t start again? and panicked, but it did and all was ok and she was born 4 hours later!

What would be your one essential product for a newborn that no new parent should live without?

My essential product was my Angel Care monitor. I don’t think they should sell any other monitor and it needs to be made cheaper as it puts your mind at rest and actually lets you sleep!!

What’s the best piece of advice you were given before your first child was born?

Don’t fear labour or the pain and it won’t hurt as much – I genuinely believe that because I wasn’t scared I had a great labour.

This is why I did hypnobirthing classes. Unfortunately Little M was breech so I had an elective c-section and didn’t get to try it out!

What’s the worst piece of advice you were given?

That I should breast feed. It’s up to mums and their preferences- personally I didn’t want to and the doctor confirmed it was a good job I didn’t as Erin had terrible reflux and would have wasted all the milk!

What would be your top tip for a first time parent-to-be?

Go with it and trust your instinct. If you think something’s wrong, it probably is!!

What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent?

The lack of sleep, and trying to figure what’s best for you baby – if it feels right for you, do it, because that’s the best option.

What’s the best thing about being a new parent?

Spending hours staring at the baby and realising they are actually yours!!!

Ah yes, I do a lot of this!

Thanks, Faye, for being my guest for this post. You can find her on her blog, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

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Travelling with a baby

Today we’re off on our first long journey with Little M – we’re travelling down to Somerset for a friend’s wedding.

We’re leaving after lunch and I haven’t even started packing my things – my organisation got derailed by the washing machine breaking down yesterday afternoon. The door wouldn’t open as there was water in the drum so I spent a significant amount of time draining the machine (there may have been a small flood) so we could empty the contents and take it round to the in-laws to be washed.

In a way it was good timing, really, as John Lewis can’t deliver our new machine (for free) until Friday and we come back on Thursday (well, we are now!), which means we don’t have to go without a washing machine for the best part of a week as we’re away anyway. Can you imagine?! The horror!

I’m not entirely sure how we’re going to fit everything in the car. Thank goodness we bought a bigger one when Little M was born! For someone so small, she requires an awful lot of stuff. I’m sure we’re taking more than we really need to but it’s the old adage of rather taking too much than finding something essential is missing.

I may change my mind and start discarding things when I can’t close the boot. Maybe we should invest in a trailer. Or one of those roof top box thingies. Gosh, I thought you had to be over forty to own one of those. And someone who likes camping. What is life coming to?!

A few weeks ago it occurred to me that I had no idea how to sterilise without a microwave (we use those brilliant Medela microwave steam steriliser bags). I asked my lovely blogger mummy friends on Facebook, and Kate from LesBeMums very kindly sent me her cold water steriliser and some sterilising tablets. The kindness in the blogging world just blows me away. Hubby is now panicking as we haven’t ‘practised’ using it yet! I’m sure we’ll manage…

I also want to take the top part of the Snüzpod with us. Little M has been sleeping so well (for her) the past few nights that I’m dreading changing her sleeping habits. We were going to have her sleep in the carrycot of her pram (which is sleep safe) but it’s narrower than the Snüzpod and she loves sleeping with her arms flopped out to the sides.


Another thing I think I’ve totally overpacked on is clothing for Little M. But the prospect of no washing machine and a constantly changing weather forecast has made me panic-pack. What if she’s too hot/too cold/voms on everything? The natural answer is to take everything we own that currently fits her. Obviously.

Brilliantly, I did have a brainwave for how to organise her suitcase (she has a whole suitcase! We’re only going for three nights!) though. I’ve used my beloved IKEA skubbs to compartmentalise it. Genius I tell you!


I’m now wondering whether we take the baby bath or just bath her in the sink. Or the actual bath…there’s a novel idea…

Come on, tell me, what have I not thought of that I really ought to pack? I’ll let you know if there’s anything I’ve forgotten over on my Facebook page, but do let me know in the comments if there’s something else I should have thought of!

Meet the Parents – Advice for new mummies and daddies with Rachel Bustin

My blog series of advice for new mummies and daddies continues this week with wisdom from Rachel who blogs at Rachel Bustin.

Tell me a bit about you, your blog and your family.

My Name is Rachel, I am 33 years old and a first time mum to a baby girl born in February 2016. We live down in Cornwall, one of the best parts of the country in my opinion, but then I have lived here all my life! I started to blog in March 2015 after having my third miscarriage in a row and needed something to occupy my mind while I was dealing with the grief. Now that part of my life is behind me I plan to enjoy every moment of my baby girl growing up along with my husband Dave.

I blog about our everyday journeys through parenting, mixing it up with book reviews, gardening and anything else that pops into my head. I love to write reviews on things that we enjoy as a family. That might be places we go, what we eat, read, use or wear.


What one essential item would you insist on putting in your hospital bag (for you)?

The one essential item that I put in my hospital bag for me was my Kindle. I really could not do without it. In the early stages of contractions I was reading a great book called Unwanted Truths by Tricia Haddon. It helped me take my mind off things and kept me relaxed and also passed the time while I was waiting.

Was there anything unexpected that happened during labour, that you think first-time mums should be prepared for?

Be prepared for the unexpected. I knew I was going to go in to be induced on the Saturday morning as I was 12 days late. But I didn’t expect to be still no further forward at 2pm on the Monday afternoon. Then the doctors decided I had to have an emergency c-section due to meconium in my waters that they broke the previous day. Just go with the flow is my advice.

What would be your one essential product for a newborn that no new parent should live without?

A gro-egg. I honestly didn’t know what to put on baby girl for bedtime. How many covers did she need? I feel the cold but my husband is a hot-bod and feels the heat. But having a gro-egg in our bedroom let us know if the room is too hot, too cold or just right. I love it!

We love our Gro-egg too! Definitely a newborn essential. 

What’s the best piece of advice you were given before your first child was born?

Don’t stress over breastfeeding. Your milk will come in when your baby is ready for it. Your body will produce enough for the needs of your baby – This came from my mum.

What’s the worst piece of advice you were given?

Don’t listen to others for what clothes to buy for a newborn. You don’t want to have too many small clothes that have never been worn. They grow so fast. Then later you have to sell on ebay!

What would be your top tip for a first time parent-to-be?

If you are breastfeeding, feed on demand. Your baby will know when they want to feed. By doing it this way we have a very happy baby who rarely cries.

I wish I had kept doing this instead of listening to my midwife!

What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent?

Lack of sleep.. I used to sleep 8/9 hours a night before baby girl came along. 14 weeks later my body is finally learning to function on little broken sleep. That first month was the hardest.

It’s amazing how you come to survive on so little sleep, isn’t it?

What’s the best thing about being a new parent?

The joy of seeing those baby blue eyes stare up at you. My baby girl is now getting interesting at 14 weeks old. She coos and gurgles away. She smiles when you come into the room. She has made our family complete.

Thanks, Rachel, for joining in! You can find Rachel over on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.

The trials and tribulations of exclusively expressing

Little M is eleven weeks old today and I’m proud (or crazy!) to say that I’m still expressing so that she can be exclusively fed breast milk. 

I’ve got mixed feelings about this. Some days I’m really pleased that I’m still going and expressing doesn’t seem like a big deal at all. But other days it just feels like the biggest chore and I wonder why I’m still putting myself through it. 

For example, on Saturday we took a trip to the coast with the in-laws. Half way through the afternoon I needed to pump. The trip wasn’t going amazingly well for various reasons and the last thing I wanted to do on a boiling hot day was trek back to the car to express. 

I ended up in the front seat, air con on full blast, a curtain fashioned out of a muslin and another tied to my bra straps in a vague attempt to hide the fact that I was hooked up like a prize Friesian.  

Thank goodness I was wearing a nursing dress at least. 

I know I’ll have to switch to formula at some point. It seems crazy to keep pumping, especially when hubby is at work and I’m doing the night feed, then pumping once Little M has gone back to sleep, meaning I get less sleep than I would otherwise. 

Last night Little M slept through from 10:30pm until 6am. Yet I was up at 4am pumping away as I didn’t want to leave it more than five hours to pump for fear of my supply dropping. 

I suppose I’ll just have to continue to play it by ear. Part of me wants to get to six months but I’ll have to see. When I’m in situations like the one I was in on Saturday it seems ridiculous but then I think in the grand scheme of my life, six months really isn’t that long, and I’m nearly half way there.

I just want to do what’s best for Little M. But it’s hard to know sometimes what that is. 

How long did you breastfeed/express for? What made you make the switch to formula? Did you find it a positive experience? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. 

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My Petit Canard

Expressing and Breastfeeding Advice from Medela

As it’s World Breastfeeding Week, I’ve been thinking more about my choice to exclusively express in order to continue feeding Little M breast milk for as long as possible. I still live in fear of her demand outstripping my supply, so I approached Medela to ask for some expert advice. I found the information their in-house expert, Sioned, gave to be super helpful and reassuring so I asked if I could share it with my readers in the hope that it can help out others who are exclusive expressing, as I am. That said, I think some of it is also useful for mums who are primarily feeding from the breast and expressing every now and then.

How frequently should I express? And what is the optimum amount of time spent expressing?

It is up to you how frequently – if you are nursing alongside you need to support this first. You can try and find times that suit you both – if she just has one breast you can pump off the other. If dad is giving a feed you can pump at the time she has daddy time. If you are exclusively pumping – it is recommended to mimic a newborn feeding pattern 8-12 times in a 24 hour period and after the first 2-3 weeks when supply is maintaining to tweak to 6-8 times a day (no longer than 5 hours between sessions at night). Some mums find that first feeds in the morning support a sneaky pumping session, while others prefer to do late evening when baby is asleep – its up to you and how it fits with your feeding patterns and lifestyle.

With a 2 phase breast pump the majority of the milk is removed within the first 7 minutes after a milk ejection – however it is dependable on having the correct shield size , comfort vacuum setting and also if you double or single pump. If you have a large storage capacity it may take longer and you are advised to continue with pumping until the milk flow stops and feel the breasts to see if you feel that they have drained well.

What it shouldn’t take is 30 mins per breast.

What can I do to prevent the breast shield losing suction from my breast? (Sometimes I end up with wet clothes – I’m more concerned about the wasted milk, though!)

This is usually technique. We have worked with lots of mothers over the years and found that many held the shield incorrectly – preferring to hold the connector and this in turn resulted in mums having an intermittent seal and vacuum as the shield tended to be pushed into the upper breast and air leaks on the underside. Resulting in a wet t-shirt and sadly lost milk.

We now recommend cupping the shield with a thumb above and the fingers below – this also helps ladies who are fuller cupped and those whose nipples tend to point down. Heavy pendula breasts may be supported with using a scarf as a sling and this too helps the ductal system on the under breast drain better. When milk has finished flowing, before releasing the shield, lean slightly forwards to pool the milk so that it goes into the centre of the funnel and then drains into the bottle.

A couple of things to remember by cupping the breast shield – if you need to break the seal you can insert your thumb into the upper breast tissue and this will release the vacuum and allow the milk to drain into the funnel and bottle. If you have a significant milk ejection and the milk is pooling you can break the seal and interrupt the cycle of the pump without removing the shield from the breast in order for the milk to drain into the bottle.

If you overfill the bottle and the level of the milk is obstructing the valve and membrane it will impede the drainage into the bottle and again leave you with milk leakage – so ideally use a 250 mls bottle or start a new bottle with the other breast.

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I already apply pressure/massage my breasts whilst expressing; is there anything else I can do to increase my yield/supply?

Make sure that you are using the correctly fitted breast shields. Be cautious about using hands on compression as this can impact and constrict on the superficial milk ducts. To increase supply –you need to empty more often – the more you empty the more milk you make. You may not see more milk per session but you may find that over 24 hrs you have a greater total. Double pumping produces more milk than single pumping and this is proven as it triggers an additional milk ejection reflex and both breasts are working at the same time so a lot more efficient.

If you are having a blip and need to supplement it may be worth considering a short term hire with a double pump to boost and then fall back to your personal pump once over your blip. There are medications you can take but it is recommended to consult with a breastfeeding specialist and GP to look at your medical history and ensure that both herbal and over counter remedies are safe for you to take. For more information the breastfeeding network has a great fact sheet about medication called galactogogues that influence prolactin production.

Disclosure: This post is not sponsored; I approached Medela for advice and they kindly agreed that I could share it on my blog. Medela did, however, kindly send me a bottle sample for Little M to try. All opinions given are my own.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Meet the Parents – Advice for New Mummies and Daddies with Budding Smiles

Welcome back to my blog series Meet the Parents – Advice for New Mummies and Daddies. This week we’re chatting to Hannah who blogs over at Budding Smiles.

Tell me a bit about you, your blog and your family.

I’m Hannah, 29 and married to Phil. We have a son Toby (24 months) and daughter Martha (2 months) and I blog about our lives, at Budding Smiles. My blog is predominantly about our family and lifestyle, with product reviews and current affairs responses thrown in when I fancy!

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What one essential item would you insist on putting in your hospital bag (for you)?

Knickers! Can you believe I forgot to pack them when I had Toby?! Wearing Phil’s spare boxers just didn’t feel right!

Oh gosh! Knickers always seem to be the last thing I remember to pack when going on holiday, so I can see how you can forget them when you’re focused on baby! I’m sure it’s not a mistake you made twice, though!

Was there anything unexpected that happened during labour, that you think first-time mums should be prepared for?

I was shocked at how I just knew what was happening, so I’d say first-time mums need to know to trust themselves. I knew when the contractions were real, when my waters were going, when to push etc.

I’m a bit sad not to have experienced this, having had a planned c-section.

What would be your one essential product for a newborn that no new parent should live without?

Aside from the obvious nappies and a source of milk, I would highly recommend a sling or carrier. Newborns like to be close to mum and it’s great to be able to carry them without wrecking your back.

What’s the best piece of advice you were given before your first child was born?

To trust my instincts. From pregnancy to birth and having your baby, always trust your instincts.

What’s the worst piece of advice you were given?

“If you think this bit’s hard, wait til they’re 2”. Just seriously, naff off! Haha

That’s not advice! I hope you told them to jog on!

What would be your top tip for a first time parent-to-be?

Make sure you have a support network and if anyone isn’t being supportive then they can go to the back of the baby snuggle queue! Its exhausting and emotional as well as wonderful so be prepared for a huge upheaval of emotions.

What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent?

With a ‘typical’ baby I’d say the sleep deprivation because when you’re exhausted, everything else can feel harder too.

Sleep deprivation is evil! I’m surprised we haven’t evolved differently to lessen this!

What’s the best thing about being a new parent?

Gazing for hours and hours at your bundle of perfection and wondering how on earth you managed to create something so wonderful!

Thanks, Hannah, for those words of wisdom! You can find Hannah over on her blog, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

If you’d like to take part in my Meet the Parents series, please email me at jules@ponderingparenthood.com.

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